The #1 Tip Every Wedding Vendor Wants Brides To Know!

Photography: Best Photography

While every vendor will vary on wedding related advice they would share with planning brides, the #1 tip that every vendor wishes that brides knew is:

NEVER wait to book your vendors!

We hear brides express all the time that they are approaching their big day and still have not secured all of the vendors on their list. While there are vendors that take priority, such as your venue space, each and every vendor should be booked months before the big day.

WHY: 

Most vendors calendars are filled months in advance. For in demand vendors, calendars may be filled a year or more in advance.

If your wedding will be held during a peak season month, such as July, chances are your vendors calendars are completely booked.   The closer you wait until the big day to book your vendors, the more you risk limitations in available vendors for your preferred wedding dates.

Vendors never like to turn away brides, especially brides that would love to work with them. Avoid by following our guide for when to book your vendors during a 6 month or 12 month engagement length.

Getting Started Series: The Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide!

We are so excited to launch our first e-book, Getting Started: The Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide

When it comes to taking on wedding to do tasks, we hear “I’m so overwhelmed with so many to do tasks” and  “I don’t know where to even begin” all of the time from planning brides and understand how incredibly stressful and overwhelming planning a wedding can be.

On average, planning a wedding requires a minimum of 500 hours to take on the hundreds of decisions from creating the guest list, selecting vendors, determining the budget, saying yes to the dress, selecting wedding decor and so much more.

Finding assistance in planning can be stressful in itself but is crucial to stay on budget, on schedule, to minimize stress and to know what steps to follow as you plan from engaged to the big day.  Most wedding timeline guides aimed to provide a checklist of steps to fulfill while planning are simply one-page bullet points filled with dozens of to do tasks that do not actually walk through each step of the process.   Wedding planning books often take on detailed topics within a single chapter that simply doesn’t spend the necessary time to truly detail how to take on tough topics.  For the most comprehensive assistance, brides find that hiring a full-service wedding planner on average starts at $2,000 and a simple consultation for assistance averages at $40-$60 an hour, which may be out of budget.   

We are solving this common and stressful problem through our first e-book, Getting Started: The Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide, to help remove the stress often accompanied with wedding planning so that you can spend more time enjoying your journey! 

Our in-depth 130 page book walks you through each planning task starting with the engagement to the actual wedding day so that you feel like you are sitting down with a wedding planner but for a fraction of the price! As your own personal wedding planners, we walk through over 100 essential steps and expert tips  you must know for every little step along the way. We explain when tasks should get crossed off the calendar, expensive mistakes to avoid, what to consider for each decision, secrets to save, stay organized and cross off tasks like a pro! 

Jump in where you are in the process or start from the beginning for wedding planning that makes sense!  We even share how to easily adjust to meet your planning length so whether you are planning for 6 months or 24 months, our guide works for you!

Click the link below to grab a copy while in stock!

Who You Should Never Invite To Your Engagement Party

 

Photography: Best Photography

 

Your engagement party is your first official wedding activity and opportunity to celebrate the news of your engagement. While not as stressful to plan as the wedding, your engagement party will require similar steps as planning the wedding, such as creating a guest list. 

When it comes to inviting guests to your engagement party, follow this simple rule of thumb:

Only guests that will receive a wedding invitation should receive an invitation to your engagement party.

WHY:

Traditionally, all guests invited to the engagement party are also invited to the actual wedding. This means that guests that received an invitation to the engagement party would assume they are also guaranteed invites to your actual wedding. 

How To Avoid:

If you are not ready to lock in wedding guests, keep your engagement party small. Only invite guests that you are certain would make the cut, such as immediate family including parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles and your nearest and dearest friends. 

Use These Easy Formulas To Manage Your Wedding Guest List Like A Pro!

Photography: Colin Cowie 

While having guests take part in your day is an honor, deciding who to invite can be an absolute pain! The good news is that there is a simple method to work your guest list like a pro! Check out the following formulas to apply to your guest list:

If The Couple Is Funding Their Wedding:

It is up to you how and if you will distribute guests to parents if you are 100% funding your wedding expenses. If you plan to distribute guests to parents, consider a 75/25 formula where 75% of the guest list is reserved for the couple and 25% is given to to parents.  Each set of parents will then split the 25% down the middle.  

If One Set Of Parents Are Funding The Wedding:

If one set of parents will fully fund the day, it is up to them how they will distribute wedding guests.  They may exercise the the 75/25 formula where 75% of the guest list is reserved for the parents fully funding the wedding and the remaining 25% is split between the couple and other set of parents.

The parents fully funding may also use a more flexible percentage, such as splitting the guests list 50/50 where 50% goes to the parents funding the day and the remaining 50% is split between the couple and other set of parents. 

Parents fully funding can also go with the traditional split formula, which is allowing the couple to keep 50% of the guest list and the remaining 50% is split between each set of parents.

If Both Sets Of Parents Are Funding The Wedding: 

If both sets of parents are funding the wedding, it will also be up to them how they intend to distribute the wedding guest list. They may decide to use the 75/25 formula where 75% of the guest list is split evenly between both sets of parents and the remaining 25% is given to the couple.

They may also use a more generous formula by sticking with tradition and splitting the guests list 50/50 where 50% is split evenly by both sets of parents and the remaining 50% is given to the couple.

If One Set Of Parents And The Couple Are Funding The Wedding:

If one set of parents and the couple are funding the wedding, it is their choice how and if they will extend invites to the set of parents that are not contributing. We recommend that you consider extending guests as the set of parents that is not financially contributing simply may not have the resources to do so, or may still contribute in ways that are not financial. 

Consider a formula such as 80/20, where 80% is split between the parents funding the wedding and couple with the remaining 20% extended to the parents that are not financially contributing. 

If Both Sets Of Parents And The Couple Are Funding The Wedding:

If both sets of parents are contributing as well as the couple, consider the traditional formula of splitting the guests list 50/50. This allows 50% of the guest list to the couple and the remaining 50% is split evenly between both sets of parents. 

If There Are Special Circumstances:

Divorced Parents:

For divorced parents, follow the 50/50 formula where the bride and groom take 50% and both sets of parents take 50%. From there, split the 25% down the middle where divorced parents receive an equal share.  For example, if the grooms parents are divorced, give each of the grooms parent 12% from the 25% given to the grooms parents. 

Parents Exceeded Their Allocated Percent:

If parents exceed their allocated percent, consider asking if they can chip in to cover additional guests. You can also add  additional guests once RSVP requests are received by adding additional guest in place of guests that have declined.  

Other Family Contribute:

If other family members are contributing,  consider allowing a specific number to each contributor, such as 1-2 guests each.  If allowing guests would put you over your guest count, let them know that you would like to follow up with them once guest RSVP responses come back to ensure that you replace declines opposed to adding to your guest count.

2 Benefits Of Wedding Planning Immediately After You Get Engaged!

Photography: London Light Photography

“When should I start wedding planning?” 

We get asked this question all the time and stand by the answer that it is NEVER too soon to start planning once you get engaged. We recently shared why you should avoid procrastinating for the big day. Now it’s time to take on the advantages of getting a head start in planning.

Check out 2 huge benefits below:

 To Save Money: 

It’s never too soon to start saving money towards wedding related expenses. Many of our followers expressed that they began saving money for their wedding prior to their engagement because they knew that it was coming.  On average, expect to set aside at least 20% of your income towards wedding expenses.

A huge benefit of saving money for your wedding immediately after your engagement is that you will have money ready for vendor deposits that are required to book. Remember that wedding-related expenses will be required throughout your journey, not at the end.  The sooner you start saving, the more you have set aside for deposits to book vendors. Resources will be required at the start of your journey to book key vendors, such as your venue space and photographer. Start saving immediately after your engagement to ensure you have money available to secure your vendors with deposits.  

For Vendor Availability:

It’s not uncommon for top vendors calendars to have dates on the books months, even a year or more in advance.  Some vendors also only take a specific number of bookings a year. For instance, your dream photographer may only take 7 weddings a year. Begin reaching out to vendors immediately after you get engaged to get a feel for available calendar dates for potential vendors.

How To Explain To Someone They Are Not Invited To Your Wedding or In Your Wedding Party

Photography: Ivash Studio

Chances are once you were engaged you expected that wedding planning would include tough decisions such as selecting the perfect venue, gown and even best wedding date. You may not have been prepared for other challenging tasks, such as having to explain to someone they will not be invited to your wedding or taking part of your wedding party.

If faced with the tough task of having to express you cannot extend an invitation to your wedding or have in your wedding party, consider using these responses to explain:

If Unable To Extend A Wedding Invitation:

We are so honored that you would like to take part in our day and wish that we can extend an invite to everyone. Unfortunately we will be unable to extend an invitation due to (select the best option: budget limitations, exceeding our guest list, venue space capacity). We hope that you understand that not being able to invite everyone we would love to have has been incredibly challenging for us and that it’s nothing personal.

If Unable To Invite As A Wedding Party Member:

“It was a very challenging decision for us to select members for our wedding party because we have so many that we would love to stand by our side on our wedding day. We realized there were other roles that meant just as much to us that we needed special people in our lives to fill. We would be honored if you were part of our day by (select the best option: welcoming guests, serving as a host or usher, providing a special reading, giving a toast, being there while I am getting ready, accompanying me as I cake/menu taste or shop for the gown)

How To Cut Wedding Budget Not Style

 
 
 
Photography: Wayne and Angela
 
Having your dream day on a budget is possible! Check out our top 5 ways to cut your wedding budget, not style!
 
Invest Where It Matters Most:
When  it comes to planning your wedding, there are hundreds of details to consider, all of which come at a cost. From your wedding invitations to guest favors, the more details that you include in your wedding, the more the overall cost of the day.  
We recommend that you spend time considering what matters most. Imagine the details that you would find a way to include at any expense. For instance, you may realize that you absolutely must walk down the aisle in your dream gown, but are not as committed to the venue space to host your day. Focus on investing on details that mean the most while seeking ways to save on areas that are not as meaningful to you. Check out our past post on selecting your top wedding must haves to get started!
 
Shop Around:

Before investing, make sure that you are have shopped around and compared prices to ensure you get the best deal. Whether it’s comparing the average cost of venue spaces, vendors, or even the gown, always make sure to compare prices before you invest. Be sure to check what’s included as well. For instance, you may find that your dream gown is offered for the same rate at one salon with alterations included, while another salon would require a separate fee for alterations. 

Seek Coupons And Discounts: 

Stay on the look out for potential coupons and deals before investing.  Always:

  • Sign up for newsletters to receive special insider deals. Check vendor and brand websites for the option to subscribe.
  • Visit vendors and brands official websites for discounts, coupon codes and offers.
  • Follow brands and vendors on social media for announcements on deals or special saving opportunities.
  • Attend wedding shows and wedding expos as many vendors and venues offer packages at special rates.
  • Enter contests as many vendors and even wedding based social media accounts host opportunities to win details ranging from photography packages, wedding bands and even honeymoons!

Cut Based On Time Used On The Wedding Day:

When it comes to your wedding day details, consider investing where guests will spend the most time. Your guests will spend a majority of your wedding day at the reception venue space, while they will only spend 30 minutes to 1 hour at your ceremony venue space. Consider keeping details to a minimum at your ceremony venue space, while investing in your reception space. At the reception venue, guests will spend most of their time at the reception tables and dance floor.  Keep the decor at guestbook tables and place card tables to a minimum as guests will only see them for a short time.

Cut What Will Not Be Missed:

Guests will not notice if your linens are upgraded from satin to silk, but they certainly will notice if there are minimal food options available during dinner. Cut in areas that guests will not miss while investing in areas that may affect the guest experience. Consider if you were a guest at your wedding and details that would stand out to you. While there will be details that are “nice to have”, hold off on investing until you have crossed off “must have” details. For instance, it would be “nice to have” a luxury exit vehicle, but your wedding party “must have” transportation from the ceremony to your reception venue space. 

Avoid This Common Mistake That Most Brides-To-Be Make After Getting Engaged!

 
 
During our Wediquette Wednesday feature,  we are frequently asked guest related questions, such as how to handle telling a guest that was sent a save the date that a formal invitation can no longer be extended.
 
WHY THIS HAPPENS:
 
If save the dates or even verbal indications that an invite will be extended are shared prior to locking in the realistic number of guests that you can host, you may find yourself in the sticky situation of having to decline invites that you prematurely extended an invitation to. 
 
HOW TO PREVENT:
As natural and tempting as it is to discuss your wedding details with family, friends, coworkers and associates, we recommend that you refrain from discussing until you are absolutely certain of your guest count and budget. 
 
Attempt to stick to only discussing your wedding with guests that you know are guaranteed to receive an invitation. This may include parents, siblings and your nearest and dearest friends that you would do anything to make sure are there for your day. 
 
WHY:
 
Discussing your day can lead to an expectation for an invite to your wedding.  Avoid discussing your wedding with anyone that doesn’t have a guaranteed invite until:
 
  • Your Venue Space Is Booked: Consider if you sent 150 save the date invitations prior to securing your venue space, only to learn that your selected venue can only accommodate 130 guests. As a result of sending out save the dates prior to securing your venue space, you will have the tough job of notifying 20 guests that you can no longer extend an invite. Hold off on discussing until your venue is confirmed and you know exactly how many guests you are able to invite. 
  • Your Budget For Catering Is Confirmed: You may find that simply adding just one additional guest will put you over budget for food and beverage.  Additional guests will also require additional seating, and even decor.  Avoid discussing your day until you are clear on your catering needs and confident that you can extend an invite.  

After your engagement, attempt to leave talk of your wedding to guaranteed invites such as parents, siblings and your nearest and dearest friends. Even if you hope to extend an invite, attempt to avoid discussing until certain the guest has a guaranteed invite. Try this blanket statement when asked questions about your day: 

“We are still working out the details but are planning to have a small, intimate wedding with family and a few close friends”. 

This takes away from the assumption that an invite will be extended as you have set the tone that your day will be small and intimate. If you are able to extend an invite, your guest will be surprised and excited to know they have received an invitation opposed to disappointed to find they will not be attending.

Wedding Day Timeline Mistakes You Can’t Afford To Make!

 

Photography: CMP Denver

When it comes to your day of timeline, avoid making the following 3 mistakes!

Not Consulting With Vendors:
 
When creating your wedding day timeline,  loop in each of your vendors to utilize their advice. The beauty of working with experienced vendors is access to their expertise to weigh in and even guide your plans.  Vendors are incredibly valuable resources to help orchestrate your day of timeline.  They can review key details, such as their arrival and clean up times, to ensure they are scheduled for the appropriate time needed. Be sure to also stay in communication with your vendors if you make changes to your timeline  so they are not faced with last minute surprises on the day of. 
 
Not Setting Up In Advance:
 
Depending on your venue space, you may have the option to set up for your wedding day in advance. Many venue spaces will allow you to set up the day before your wedding. Setting up in advance may not be possible if your venue space will host another wedding or event prior to your wedding. If unable to set up early, ask if you can leave decor or items at the venue space in advance to save from having to transport the day of. This will be incredibly helpful if supplying your own decor or accessories for the ceremony or reception. An additional advantage to setting up in advance is that you can ensure that items are properly placed.  We recommend that you avoid setting up items that may get damaged or wilt in advance, such as flowers. Opt for setting up areas such as the escort card table, guest book table, and even signage if your venue spaces allows.  
 

Not Creating A Day Of Timeline:

The biggest mistake to avoid is NOT making a day of timeline for your day.  The key to avoiding unexpected fees due to exceeding your vendors booked time is to carefully plan your wedding day schedule.

Spend time creating a day of schedule that takes into consideration:

  • The time your wedding party should spend getting ready
  • The time that the bride and groom should spend getting ready
  • The time that the entire wedding party should be ready to leave for the ceremony
  • The time any pre-wedding captures with the photographer should begin
  • The time that all vendors should arrive for set-up
  • The time the ceremony should begin
  • The time of your receiving line
  • The time for cocktail hour
  • The time for post-wedding portraits with the groom and wedding party
  • The time for reception activities such as the first dance, cake cutting, toasts and garter toss 
  • The time that vendors should arrive for clean up
 
 

How To Plan Your Wedding In 12 Months!

 

 

 

Yesterday we took on planning your big day within a short, 6 month timeline. Now its time to break down the steps to plan your day during an average engagement length of 12 months! For a comprehensive, step by step breakdown of how to plan in 6 months, 12 months or even 2 years or more, be sure to check out our 130 page e-book, Getting Started: The Ultimate Planning Guide!

 

12 Months: Enjoy and Envision

The first month after your proposal is an exciting time to enjoy your new status and consider your wedding details. Spend time envisioning your dream day and considering key decisions such as when your day may take place and how much you can afford to bring your day to life.

We Recommend That You:

  • Set Aside Time To Plan
  • Determine Your Wedding Vision
  • Consider Potential Wedding Dates
  • Determine How You Will Pay For Your Wedding

11 Months: Get Started

It’s time to begin making moves towards the first of many wedding decisions. Begin by taking on a few crucial tasks at a time.

 

  • Begin Creating Your Guest List & Collecting Contact Information
  • Consider Hiring A Wedding Planner
  • Consider Your Ideal Wedding Venue Style and Begin Researching Venues
  • Consider Your Ideal Wedding Gown Style & Start Researching
  • Discuss & Start Planning Your Engagement Party
  • Research Photographers
  • Research Wedding Websites
  • Determine Wedding Insurance
  • Discuss Wedding Party Members
  • Begin Collecting Wedding Style Inspiration

 

10 Months: Begin Narrowing Top Choices

Start narrowing down top contenders to bring your day to life, from the venue space to the photographer.

We Recommend That You:

  • Book Your Venue
  • Consider Save The Date Stationary
  • Book Engagement Shoot
  • Research Potential Officiant
  • Research The Honeymoon & Research Passports
  • Invite Wedding Party Members
  • Discuss Living Arrangements
  • Create The Wedding Website

 

9 Months: Start Booking

Attempt to secure vendors to ensure that your key players are crossed off the list. Lock in all vendors now if possible to get a head start.

We Recommend That You:

  • Book The Officiant
  • Book Photographer
  • Book Florist
  • Research & Select Hotel For Out of Town Guests
  • Order Save The Date Invitations
  • Start Fitness Plan
  • Determine Decor Needs
  • Start Researching The Wedding Registry

 

8 Months: Continue Crossing Off the List

Continue crossing wedding tasks off the list. Continue your research on upcoming tasks to move towards selecting your final choices.

We Recommend That You:

  • Book The Honeymoon
  • Begin Researching Bridesmaid Style
  • Create The Wedding Registry
  • Narrow Down Top Gown Choices & Say Yes To The Dress

 

7 Months: Cross Final Vendors Off

Now is the time that all vendors should be narrowed down and selected.

We Recommend That You:

  • Consider Rentals
  • Research Stationary
  • Book Hotel For Out of Town Guests
  • Order Save The Dates
  • Book Entertainment
  • Research Hair & Make-Up, Attempt To Secure
  • Research and Select Groom and Groomsmen Attire

 

6 Months: The Half-Way Mark

You’re half-way through the big day and ideally should also have a large chunk of your wedding day tasks crossed off the list. Now is the time to start moving into the details.

We Recommend That You:

  • Meet With Florist
  • Meet With Venue
  • Research & Book Transportation
  • Select Wedding Bands
  • Book Hair & Makeup
  • Research Cake Designs 
  • Start Purchasing Decor
  • Discuss Wedding Activities (Such As The Bridal Shower and Bachelorette Party)
  • Select Bridesmaid Attires
  • Order Invitations

 

5 Months: The Details

Now that all major tasks should be crossed off the list, it’s time to move to the details. 

We Recommend That You:

  • Research & Book Your Rehearsal Venue
  • Receive Invitations
  • Begin Hair & Make-Up Trials
  • Start DIY Trials
  • Select Accessories For The Bride & Groom
  • Select Accessories For The Wedding Party
  • Determine Wedding Party Hair & Make-Up
  • Research Wedding Traditions

 

4 Months: The Countdown Begins

You are now approaching the final months before the big day. It’s time to really roll up your sleeves and cross remaining tasks off the list. 

We Recommend That You:

  • Purchase Bride & Groom Accessories
  • Purchase Wedding Party Accessories
  • Select Wedding Playlist Music
  • Select & Purchase Guest Favors

 

3 Months: Begin Day Of Tasks

As the day of gets closer, get a head start in crossing off essential day of tasks such as drafting your timeline and listing toasts.

We Recommend That You:

  • Research Readings
  • List Toasts
  • Begin Drafting Ceremony & Reception Timeline
  • Select Additional Stationary
  • First Wedding Gown and Tux Fitting
  • First Wedding Party Attire Fitting

 

2 Months: The Final Stretch

You’re down to final weeks before the big day and have important tasks to cross off the list for the big day. Spend time attempting to square away as many tasks as possible to allow the final week before the big day to relax.

We Recommend That You:

  • Create The Day Of Timeline With Vendors
  • Begin Delegating Tasks
  • Begin Creating The Seating Chart
  • Create The Welcome Kit For Out Of Town Guests
  • Have the Bridal Shower

 

1 Month: The Final Weeks

The true countdown is on and you’re almost at your big day. Attempt to have tasks crossed off before the week of the big day to allow time to relax and enjoy!

We Recommend That You:

  • Final Gown Fitting For Bride & Wedding Party
  • Final Fitting For Groom & Groomsmen
  • Begin Beauty Regimen
  • Finalize Day Of Timeline & Send To Vendors and Wedding Party Members
  • Assemble Favors
  • Confirm Rentals
  • Have Bachelor & Bachelorette Party
  • Secure Legal Documents
  • Confirm Hotel For Out of Town Guests
  • Follow Up With Out Of Town Guests
  • Finalize Guest List RSVP’s
  • Finalize Seating Chart
  • Purchase Grooms Gift

For the ultimate guide to plan every step of your wedding like a pro, be sure to grab a copy of our 130 page e-book, Getting Started: The Ultimate Planning Guide!